In the houseplant community, there are a few genera that quickly become beloved by collectors for their diversity and rarity. Peperomias and calatheas come to mind, but the Alocasia genus is quickly taking over the top spot.
New Alocasia species and cultivars are constantly entering the market, and the latest favourite is Alocasia zebrina. Although the classic arrow-shaped foliage is a feature, it’s the striped stems of this species that are the true standout.
Originally from the jungles of the Philippines, Alocasia zebrina appreciates warm temperatures and very high humidity, making it great for growing indoors. With a full day of bright indirect sunlight, the stems grow to around a meter tall indoors, making an eye-catching feature. They prefer consistent watering and can’t be left to dry out completely, but also shouldn’t sit in soggy soil that encourages root rot.
As the stems are the most captivating part of the plant, it’s best to place the pot slightly higher up on a stand or cabinet so the leaves are around eye level. This allows you to appreciate the striped stems that make these species so sought-after. Larger pots are recommended as the tall leaves can often cause the pot to tip over.
Unfortunately, the beauty of this species comes at a price. They are not the easiest houseplants to care for, and often encounter a few problems. If you forget to rotate your pots to provide even sunlight to all areas of the plant, the stems may become lopsided and the leaves unbalanced. When humidity is too low (below 50%) or you forget to water, the edges of the leaves often turn brown and may begin curling under stress. They are also incredibly sensitive to overwatering and their prized stems will quickly become soft when there is too much moisture in the soil.
If you want to grow this new houseplant must-have, make sure you give them the right conditions and avoid any of these potential mistakes. With a bit of attention, your Alocasia zebrina will become a central feature in your home.
Featured image: Feey via Unsplash